Monday, 8 May 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week: We are Talking. You're Just not Listening

This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week. Of course I love to share these weeks with everyone; there are some amazingly strong and inspirational people out there. There are also some people really struggling out there who stumble across posts and tweets and feel a little less alone. My issue isn't with the week. It's not with people sharing stories or asking people how they are or looking after themselves. It's that the people who are in 'power' aren't listening.


I've struggled with my mental health since I was a teenager. I suffered social anxiety, generalised anxiety, depression and after I had my daughter I suffered from post natal depression. At my most recent health care appointment we traced back where everything started and also came to the conclusion that I may even have been experiencing post traumatic stress from being bullied. 

Mental heath care in this country is quite frankly appalling. It's a postcode lottery for most people. I am one of the lucky ones but why on earth should I even be saying that? In fact, I've been in a dark place and I've been waiting for 2 months to see a counsellor, I will be waiting a further 2 months before I can start some more cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). In some counties that 2 month wait is a dream, try 6 months waiting when you feel seriously unwell. Or more.

There are some amazing mental health charities who are picking up a lot of broken people and they are doing this with limited funds. They are always raising awareness and trying to get the message across that it's okay to speak out. That it's okay to feel like your mind is lost, that you want to run away, to disappear, to even die but you need to find help to help make sense of why you feel this way and find the right help to prevent you from getting worse or coming to any ham. I don't see how these charities can continue supporting all the hundreds of people but they are doing just that right now.

Our government and political parties are promising to help the NHS, are promising more nurses, more health workers, more support for those with mental health conditions but there is no evidence. There are not enough safe places. There are not enough beds. There are not enough carers, nurses, not enough money. It's all well and good telling us all to open up, share and be aware and PLEASE DO. We DO need to talk about mental health and we DO need to shout more about it and get people to listen, to understand, to not judge, ridicule or stigmatise and that is still so easily done and still a huge problem. We also need ACTION we need those things I mentioned above and people all over the internet are saying those very same words today.

The promises are in writing but they are the same ones made months ago. The same ones made before. Yet people are still ending their own lives because they feel they have run out of options. Still people are attended by paramedics who don't know what they can do to help but there is no mental health response to come out and help that person. Still there are huge waiting lists for counsellors and psychiatric help and still there are people having to travel miles (sometimes as far as 400 miles from their home) to be treated in a unit. That's a long way and very far from family and friends, even more so if you are a young person.

Before I end, here are some mental health statistics for you to have a quick read over. They are from a few years ago, but I don't think things have changed that much. If possible, the statistics are probably higher in 2017. (source MentalHealth.org.uk) 

Suicide
  • In 2013, 6,188 suicides were recorded in the UK. Of these, 75% were male and 25% were female.
  • Between 2003 and 2013, 18,220 people with mental health problems took their own life in the UK.
  • Suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales.
  • One person in fifteen had made a suicide attempt at some point in their life.
Anxiety
  • In 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK.
  • In England women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders as men.
  • The one-week prevalence of generalised anxiety in England is 6.6%

Adolescents and Children
  • 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year.
  • 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24.
  • 10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
That is just a very small snippet of what this country faces. That doesn't include half the other mental disorders that affect people day in and day out. Also, we should remember that this is just the UK. Mental illness isn't just something affecting us, it's affecting people: men, women and children all over the world.

Here are some links for you to check out. thanks for reading.






2 comments:

  1. Those figures are just shocking aren't they? I had absolutely no idea. I think this mental health Awareness week has been a real opener and I hope that those people start listening so more people can get the help they need. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

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  2. Such a powerful and important post. Thank you for sharing your own experiences. Let's hope there will be positive changes in the future. Xx

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